Governor Cuomo announced today a new Tax Free New York program that will transform SUNY campuses into magnets for new business. The program replicates successes across New York at select SUNY campuses, such as UAlbany and CNSE, SUNYIT, and the University at Buffalo. It will create communities that foster growth by exempting businesses in and around SUNY campuses from income, sales, property, and business tax:
Tax-Free NY will entice companies to invest in Upstate New York by offering new businesses the opportunity to operate completely tax-free – including no income tax for employees, no sales, property or business tax – for a decade, while also partnering with the world-class higher education institutions in the SUNY system.
The guidelines and incentives are fully listed below:
Tax-Free Communities: All SUNY campuses and community colleges outside of New York City and designated private colleges north of Westchester will be Tax-Free (no sales, property, or business/corporate taxes). Up to 200,000 square feet surrounding the campus will included in the Tax-Free community.
Employees Exempt from Income Taxes: Employees of businesses that open in Tax-Free NY communities will be exempt from paying income taxes for a ten-year period.
Additional 3 Million Sq. Ft in Commercial Space at Private Universities: Under Tax-Free NY, 3 million sq. ft. in commercial space will be available at New York’s private universities. Twenty strategic state assets will also be designated tax free.
Businesses Eligible for Tax-Free NY: Companies with a relationship to the academic mission of the university, new businesses, out-of-state businesses that relocate to New York, and existing businesses that expand their New York operations while maintaining their existing jobs.
Most New Yorkers live near a SUNY campus: 93% of New Yorkers are within just 15 miles of a SUNY Campus, enabling millions of New Yorkers to benefit from the increased job-creating and economy-boosting potential of Tax-Free NY.
Continuing to Reverse New York’s “Tax Capital” Reputation: Since taking office, the Governor has cut middle class tax rates to their lowest rates in 60 years, enacted the state’s first-ever property tax cap, eliminated or greatly reduced the MTA payroll tax for nearly 300,000 small businesses, and provided middle class families with a child tax credit.
By partnering with the University at Albany and the State, CNSE grew to become not only a preeminent research college for nanoscale technology, it also attracted billions of dollars in private sector investment, transforming the Capital Region into the international epicenter of the commercial nano-industry. Modeled on this success, Tax-Free NY will entice potential start-ups to bring their new business ventures here to Upstate New York, where they will benefit from resources offered by partnering with higher education institutions as well as the ability to their business completely tax-free for a decade.
UPDATE: Governor Cuomo has set up a website just for the Tax Free NY initiative.
UPDATE 2: SUNY leadership and all 64 campus presidents today issued an Open Letter in support of Tax-Free NY.
Maxwell is the Coordinator of Digital Engagement for The State University of New York.